The Making of Airbus A380: A Triumph of Science and Engineering

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Case Details:

Case Code : OPER056
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 1999-2006
Organization : Airbus, Boeing
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : France, Germany, Spain
Industry : Aircraft Manufacturing

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Manufacturing A380

The A380 had 49% more floor space than Boeing's 747, leaving additional room for features such as on-board shops, bars, casinos, or even nurseries (Refer Exhibit III for a comparison between the A380 and the B747 and Exhibit IV for pictorial differences between the A380 and the B747).

The A380, like other aircraft, was manufactured in three class configurations - Economy, Business, and First Class. The standard layout of the A380-800 comprised 22 first class and 334 economy class seats on the main deck, and 96 business class, and 103 economy class seats on the upper deck. The first-class seat could be opened out into a bed...

The Materials Used

About 25% of the A380 was made of composite materials. The advantage with composites was that they were robust, lightweight, and could withstand heat and cold more than a metal. Reduction in weight was one of the greatest advantages of composites, leading to less fuel burn, fewer emissions, and lower operating costs. The two categories of constituent materials of composites were matrix and reinforcement. The matrix material surrounded and supported the reinforcement materials by maintaining their relative positions. The reinforcements were to impart special mechanical and electrical properties to enhance the matrix properties...

The Technologies Used

Airbus used many novel techniques and technologies in developing the A380. A few of the prominent techniques included Modular Avionics, Network Systems Servers, Power-by-wire flight controls, and new hydraulic systems.

Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA): The A380 had an avionics architecture called IMA which was normally used in advanced military aircrafts. It had dedicated software housed in onboard processor modules and servers. This architecture reduced the number of parts and provided increased flexibility without customized avionics being resorted to...

Excerpts Contd...>>


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